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Match-Rigging in Professional Sumo: Elucidation of Incentive Structures and Empirical Analysis


  • Hori, Masahiro
  • Iwamoto, Koichiro


This paper first develops a simple model to show that incentives for match-rigging in professional sumo differ depending on the rank to which a wrestler belongs. While incentives for match-rigging can arise for wrestlers in the top divisions (sekitori), few incentives arise for wrestlers-in-training (makushita and below). We then report the results of our empirical analysis, which show that match-rigging in the top divisions has declined in the post-Duggan and Levitt (2002) period, and that at the wrestler-in-training level there was no statistically detectable match-rigging during any period. We find further that match-rigging in professional sumo has stabilized at statistically undetectable levels following the mobile phone text message match-rigging scandal, and that on average the wrestlers selected for sanctions following the scandal were in fact those most involved in match-rigging.

Suggested Citation

  • Hori, Masahiro & Iwamoto, Koichiro, 2013. "Match-Rigging in Professional Sumo: Elucidation of Incentive Structures and Empirical Analysis," CIS Discussion paper series 580, Center for Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  • Handle: RePEc:hit:cisdps:580

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Helmut Dietl & Markus Lang & Stephan Werner, 2008. "Corruption in Professional Sumo: An Update on the Study of Duggan and Levitt," Working Papers 0085, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU), revised Jun 2009.
    2. Mark Duggan & Steven D. Levitt, 2002. "Winning Isn't Everything: Corruption in Sumo Wrestling," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1594-1605, December.
    3. Miceli, Thomas J., 1997. "Economics of the Law: Torts, Contracts, Property, Litigation," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195103908, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hori, Masahiro & Iwamoto, Koichiro, 2013. "Are yokozuna sacred? : Further evidence on match-rigging in sumo wrestling," CIS Discussion paper series 609, Center for Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.

    More about this item


    Sumo wrestling; match rigging; incentive scheme;

    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects


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